Ever since visiting Tel Arad in the spring of 1967 with Professor Anson Rainey both the small citadel, with its Judean Temple, and the large, lower, Early Bronze Age city (ca. 2800 B.C.) have intrigued me.
One of the mysteries was were/how did they store water in the Judean Citadel? It was evident that there was at least a small cistern in the citadel but it had not been excavated and was still blocked with debris.
It was also known that a channel lead into the cistern, under its wall, evidently putting water into it.
The cistern is located just to the south of the Judean Temple (see below) but it was always blocked up—it didn’t look like much was there (see above).
However, over the past 5 plus years each time we visited Arad the cistern was obviously under excavation and it was tantalizing to wonder what was being discovered!
View looking down on the Judean Temple, and in the lower left portion of the image—just outside the temple—a modern staircase leads down into the two cisterns that were in use in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C.
When we visited Arad this past June (2015) the cistern excavation had been completed and a modern staircase even led down into one of the two chambers!
The two cisterns are approximately 32 ft. [10 m.] deep and together hold about 105,600 gal. [400 cubic meters] of water! The chambers are coated with 6 layers of plasters.
The cisterns were used during peacetime as well as during sieges. They were filled with rainwater from within the citadel via the underground channel (see above) that led from outside the citadel, under its wall, into the cistern. Since there are no natural springs in the area, probably water was brought by pack animals, from cisterns in the vicinity—especially the one in the lower Canaanite City, and then poured into the water channel and from there into the cisterns.
For free High Resolution images of the above images Click Here.